May 30, 2023

By Jane Brown

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Opposition Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is calling on NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to back up his demand for a public inquiry into foreign interference by breaking off the NDP’s governing agreement with the minority Trudeau Liberals.

But Singh has responded saying the time is not right for his party to pull out of the deal that could prop up the Liberals until mid 2025.

The NDP Leader is planning to introduce a non-binding motion in the House of Commons today to remove David Johnston as special rapporteur on foreign interference.

“And that’s why in our motion we’ll be calling for the House to vote on Mr. Johnston stepping aside as a special rapporteur in order to go about this process in a way that does reinstill confidence in the electoral system and in the process,” Singh explained to reporters on Monday.

Singh’s motion says “serious questions have been raised about the special rapporteur process, the counsel he retained in support of this work, his findings and his conclusions,” and states that “only a full public inquiry” led by someone backed by all federal parties should fill the role in Johnston’s stead.

Last week, it was reported that Sheila Block, whom Johnston retained to assist him, appeared to have issued multiple donations to the Liberal party, and no other party, since 2006.

Meantime, a public policy expert says the Trudeau Liberals are not doing a good job managing optics with respect to conflict of interest over foreign interference.

York University Law and Governance Professor Ian Steadman tells Zoomer Week in Review, when it comes to David Johnston’s foreign interference file, perception is reality.

“I think we’re at a point now where we have to admit the perception of a conflict of interest and the perception of a bad decision is just as bad as making a bad one because it ruins the public’s trust in that institution and that decision making body and we can’t afford that if we want a healthy democracy,” Steadman explained.

Since his appointment as special rapporteur, Johnston has been accused of being unfit for the job because of his connections to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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